in·​form in-ˈfȯrm How to pronounce inform (audio)
informed; informing; informs

transitive verb

: to communicate knowledge to
inform a prisoner of his rights
: to give character or essence to
the principles which inform modern teaching
: to be the characteristic quality of : animate
the compassion that informs her work
obsolete : to give material form to
obsolete : guide, direct
obsolete : to make known

intransitive verb

: to give information (as of another's wrongdoing) to an authority
informed on a member of his own gang
: to impart information or knowledge
Choose the Right Synonym for inform

inform, acquaint, apprise, notify mean to make one aware of something.

inform implies the imparting of knowledge especially of facts or occurrences.

informed us of the crisis

acquaint lays stress on introducing to or familiarizing with.

acquaint yourself with the keyboard

apprise implies communicating something of special interest or importance.

keep us apprised of the situation

notify implies sending notice of something requiring attention or demanding action.

notified the witness when to appear

Examples of inform in a Sentence

The book will entertain and inform you. The arresting officer failed to inform the suspect of his rights. He failed to inform the suspect that he had the right to remain silent. We haven't yet been informed of her decision. Frequent reports from the battlefield kept the general informed about how the attack was progressing. The book will both entertain and inform. His Catholic upbringing informs all his writing.
Recent Examples on the Web Mata-Rubio and Cross told CNN they were informed by Mitchell there would be no further indictments coming out of the grand jury. Alaa Elassar, CNN, 30 June 2024 But in May -- four months after the door plug fell off Alaska Airlines flight 1281 over Portland, Oregon -- the DOJ informed Boeing that the company had failed to live up to its obligations under the DPA. James Hill, ABC News, 30 June 2024 And Nemeth did not inform higher-ups in the guard that the staffing shortages had become severe, according to the IG report. Paul Pringle, Los Angeles Times, 30 June 2024 Participants are often not informed of their errors or given guidance on how to correct their methods, undermining the credibility and effectiveness of the program. Brandon Rahe, Orlando Sentinel, 30 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for inform 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inform.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French enformer, from Latin informare, from in- + forma form

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of inform was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near inform

Cite this Entry

“Inform.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​form in-ˈfȯ(ə)rm How to pronounce inform (audio)
: to let a person know something : tell
: to give information so as to accuse or cause suspicion
inform against them to the police

More from Merriam-Webster on inform

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